By Carol-Ann Rudy
The challenge? Match and break a record held by Henry Aaron that has stood for thirty-one years.
For the rest of us, the challenge is predicting when it will take place. Banners run across the bottom of newscast screens keeping us up to date. The Internet has a profusion of websites dedicated to it. You can even go to websites that feature an algorithm so you can join the frenzy and make your own prediction. Articles bloom in the print media. . . .
(Photo by Ben Margot / AP)
It seems a foregone conclusion that Barry Bonds will tie Henry (Hank) Aaron’s record. Saturday, May 5, brought Bonds’ tenth home run of the season against the Philadelphia Phillies, bringing his career home run number to 744, eleven short of Aaron’s record of 755. At this writing, TicketNews.com still holds to June 16 as the day of the tie. Bonds also tied the record with Aaron and Mays for the 2,147th run of his career, as well as 1,952 RBIs, ranking him in fourth place ahead of Stan Musial.
There are naysayers, some who refuse to acknowledge the possibility–no, likelihood–that Bonds will do it. He is a high profile sports figure, plagued with charges of arrogance, and suspicion–remember, he has not been charged–of drug use. Beyond that, he has fought personal injuries to come back strong this season.
Many report that there are greater sports figures in baseball. How does Bonds compare both professionally, and personally, to those greats? Time will tell whether or not his achievements will be held in the same esteem as Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Hank Aaron, and Lou Gehrig, to name just the top six as listed in "Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players" by The Sporting News.
If his reputation is sullied, perhaps it’s worth looking a little further for redeeming qualities that are not reported by any media. It’s time to hear how Bonds puts some of his millions in salary to use, hopefully supporting the less fortunate in the community. Look for the causes that Bonds supports–causes outside of his own quest for the record.